Asian Slaw and a little label deciphering…

This is a monumental moment in my small world. I am posting my first recipe! Woo hoo! I happen to love slaws. They are very forgiving. They can be prepared in minutes. Pre-made slaw vegetables are very easy to find and finding ingredients in your pantry to dress them are usually not a problem. Not to mention, they keep for a few days. Slaws are a great alternative option for a salad. I happen to love Asian food and keep Asian pantry ingredients in my home for this reason. So, I decided to make and share this simple Asian Slaw. Most grocery stores have an International aisle which should make finding these ingredients easy. If you are unable to find any of these items at your local grocery store, you might like to make friends with Amazon. I happen to be quite fortunate to have access to many types of grocery retailers. The two mainly featured for my ingredients in this slaw are the Buford Highway Farmers Market and Trader Joe’s. Anyone that lives in the Atlanta area should take advantage of going to one of the many different food markets in the metro area. I happen to like Buford Highway Farmers Market because of the range of produce, convenience to where I live, and layout. It is an International farmers market; so, they have produce and foods from all parts of the world. If I had to guess, I think about  1/3 of their market is dedicated to food & cuisine from Asian countries. Trader Joe’s is also one of my personal favorites. They have many great items at good values.

IMG_6901
All the ingredients needed for my Asian Slaw

I happened to have had Trader Joe’s Organic Broccoli Slaw on-hand. So, that’s what I used. You could very easily substitute a cabbage slaw mixture. If you are more pro-active in the kitchen than I am, you can certainly make your own slaw with a food processor. I only break out my food processor when it is absolutely necessary as I don’t enjoy cleaning it.

ASIAN SLAW

INGREDIENTS

Makes 4 side dish servings  ~  Prep time 5 minutes

  • 1/4 cup Rice Vinegar (no sugar added)
  • 1 Tbs Sesame Oil
  • 1 tsp Bragg Liquid Aminos (or Tamari – gluten free Soy Sauce)
  • 1 – 2 tsp Fish Sauce to taste (no sugar added)
  • 1 tsp Chili Paste
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Ginger Root
  • 2-4 drops Nu Sweet to taste ( or 1-4 tsp Sugar Substitute of choice)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 ~ 12 oz package of Trader Joe’s Organic Broccoli Slaw (or any other bagged slaw mixture or shredded cabbage)
  • Optional pinch of Dried Chives per serving

Add all ingredients but for the salt and the slaw into the container you will be using for storing or serving. Place the lid on it (if applicable) and swirl (or stir) to mix all the ingredients. Now taste. If you’d like it spicier, add more Chili Paste. If you’d like it zestier, add more ground ginger root. Need more salt? Add it in at this point to taste. Keep at it until it suits your taste. (I purposely adjusted this recipe to be a milder dressing. If it were just for me, I would more than likely double the  3rd – 6th ingredients) Once your dressing is where you like it, add the slaw into the container and mix thoroughly. If using a lidded container, place the lid back on it. Go to your kitchen sink and give it a good shaking over the sink – to avoid a possible mess. Turn it upside down, swirl it, and shake it right side up. You want to make sure your veggies are thoroughly coated. Cover with plastic wrap if not in a lidded container. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes for the vegetables to marinade. I prefer to make this a few hours in advance to give the flavors time to bloom. Overnight is even better.

*** This Asian Slaw is a great base. You could easily bulk it up with Miracle Noodles. Add natural peanut butter to the dressing and add chopped peanuts to the slaw. Throw in some scallions, chopped red, yellow, orange, or green peppers, chicken, shrimp… Do you see where I am going? ***

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This  serving is begging to be doubled and made into a “beefed up” salad

4 ~ 1 1/4 cup servings

Calories: 39  Fat 3.54g  Carbohydrates 1.86g (0.6g fiber) Net Carbohydrate 1.26g  Protein 0.83g

As you can see, I have included the macros for this recipe. Which you really need when following a recipe or even creating a recipe. So, I thought that I would include a lesson on reading nutrition labels. There are websites that have very detailed information on this very subject. I am not trying to reinvent the wheel. I just want to give a condensed version.

So moving on & in to watching your carbohydrates. You need to understand exactly what you are consuming. Many people have lost weight and improved their health just by lowering carbohydrates and removing grains from their diet without counting carbs. I am a person that has to have a certain amount of rules and guidelines in order to stay true when it comes to weight loss. I have found that having very basic knowledge of my nutrition label and knowing about certain ingredients helps me.

Here is one label image I found on the internet. So, let’s take a look:

LabelA8

 

I don’t start by looking at the Calories. I go straight to the Carbohydrates. This is how you figure Net Carbs.

Carbohydrate: 15g subtract Dietary Fiber: 4g & Sugar Alcohols: 3g

Net Carbs:  8g

Fiber has no impact on blood glucose; so, we subtract those carbohydrates. The same goes for Sugar Alcohols (in this case); so, we can subtract those. How do I know this? Because, I look at the Ingredients.

INGREDIENTS: Erythritol is a Sugar Alcohol and is counted under the Carbohydrates. I can safely subtract those grams from the total carbohydrate as it has a negative effect on blood glucose. There is wheat flour (grain), oat flour, (grain), evaporated cane juice (sugar), and wheat gluten (I try to avoid when trying to lose weight).

I then check out the Fat and the Protein. This gives me an idea if I should include extra fat when eating this product to make it more keto friendly. If the Protein is relatively high, I might eat it post weight training.

Then, I check the Serving Size and Servings per Container. This gives me an idea if the company’s idea of a serving is generous or not.

SERVING SIZE: 20g and 16 servings total. Not knowing the product in question, that might be a rather small portion size. I would definitely pass on this product while trying to lose weight. I might even pass once I am back to maintaining.

NEXT:

Nutrition

Let’s look at this one.

Carbohydrate: 23g subtract Dietary Fiber 5g & Sugar Alcohols 12g

Net Carbs: 6g (Not so fast- look at the ingredients)

Ingredients: Flour blend (grains), Isomalt (sugar alcohol), Malitol (sugar alcohol known to elevate blood glucose), and Sucralose (artificial sweetener commonly known as Splenda)

This is a case where you cannot safely subtract the sugar alcohols. Malitol is a very common sugar alcohol found in the majority of mainstream sugar free foods. It is commonly used in candies and baked goods. It is found in most sugar free chocolate products (even if their selling point on the package states that is is sweetened with Splenda). Unfortunately, it has been known to raise blood glucose (which is certainly unsafe for diabetics). It makes this product questionable if you are trying to achieve nutritional ketosis. It might kick someone right out of ketosis. Which can stall weight loss. So assuming at most it has 18g of carbohydrates per serving, I would definitely pass while trying to lose weight and maybe even when maintaining. At the very least,if at all, I would view it as an occasional treat. As the spike in blood sugar (if your goal is to remain in ketosis), could cause the start up of sugar cravings. Not good.

Another INGREDIENT (not listed) to avoid is Partially Hydrogenated Oil (aka Shortening) = Trans Fats. Stay away! Even if the label states that is has 0g of Trans fat, pass. Legally, food companies can list a product as Trans Fat Free or 0g as long as there is less than 0.5g per serving. It would serve you best to just pass.

So, that is my overview of nutrition label know how. There is certainly more to it. But, I’ll save that for another day…

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